Date of this Version
Nebraska Bird Review (June 2004) 72(2).
This was a fairly typical spring with wide variations in temperature, although severe storms May 22 and 24 caused considerable damage to property and presumably nesting birds; dead robins and their blown-down nests were ubiquitous.
There continues to be an accumulation of observations indicative of earlier arrival of some species as well as possibly related range expansion northward of others (see species accounts for details). Notably early were most of the swallow species, Long-billed Curlew, and Bobolink. Northward range expansion seems to be occurring with Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Numbers of Piping Plovers and Snowy Plovers at Lake McConaughy and Harlan County Reservoir are increasing, especially at McConaughy, as a result of extremely low water levels and resulting huge expanses of sand. A Greater Roadrunner was seen.
Another adaptation that may be significant is the discovery at a few locations of Greater Prairie-Chickens booming in agricultural fields. Black-capped Chickadees are still scarce to non-existent south of the Platte Valley, from Lincoln west. No one has come up with a convincing explanation of what is happening, although West Nile Virus and drought are leading the speculation.